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Book Blog - Likely Stories, by Keir Graff - Booklist Online

Likely Stories

A Booklist Blog
Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

Archive for the 'Poetry' Category

Tue, March 17th, 2009
Do Androids Dream of Moons in June?
Posted by: Keir Graff

Computer “archaeologist” David Ward has unearthed a software program from the early days of the Cold War that does something much more deadly than target missiles: it writes poetry. Badly. (“World’s First Computer Was Used to Generate Love Poetry,” by Nigel Bunyan, Telegraph.) Visit the Manchester Mark I emulator if you dare–and don’t say I […]


Fri, February 20th, 2009
You got your poegel in my wovel!
Posted by: Keir Graff

First wovels and now poegels. I’m pretty sure the poegels won’t end up in p-books, however. Bear in mind that poegels are essentially something William S. Burroughs used to do with paper, scissors, and glue–which sounds like a lot more fun. And here’s Annie Dillard’s take, which, again, didn’t require the internet. (Thanks, Donna!) I hereby announce the […]


Wed, February 4th, 2009
Poetic Justice
Posted by: Keir Graff

More video. You are no doubt aware of our disgraced ex-governor’s penchant for poesy (see “Blagojevich’s Poetry Obsession Explained,” by Russell Goldman, ABC News)–naturally, it’s perfect for parody. Jason Sudeikis’ Chicago-guy accent doesn’t do justice to Blagojevich’s way of talking, but what the heck. It’s funnier than the real deal’s appearance on the Late Show last […]


Tue, January 27th, 2009
Elizabeth Alexander Tells Stephen Colbert about the Truth
Posted by: Keir Graff

I feel like one of those news anchors who follows a bus crash story with a humorous segment on a waterskiing squirrel, but–in case you missed Stephen Colbert telling Elizabeth Alexander that he literally has a mountain in his pants:


Tue, January 20th, 2009
A Chapbook Is Preferrable to Chapped Lips
Posted by: Keir Graff

Barack Obama: the forty-fourth president of the United States of America. Elizabeth Alexander: the fourth poet to read at a U.S. president’s inauguration. Graywolf Press will be releasing Alexander’s poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” as a chapbook on February 6. Which is good, because, in this humble scribe’s opinion, the poem works better on the […]


Wed, December 17th, 2008
Eggheads Have Egg on Face
Posted by: Keir Graff

The poetry beat is getting more and more seedy. From The Independent (“Chinese ‘classical poem’ was brothel ad,” by Clifford Coonan): There were red faces on the editorial board of one of Germany’s top scientific institutions, the Max Planck Institute, after it ran the text of a handbill for a Macau strip club on the front page of […]


Tue, December 16th, 2008
That’s One Way to Mark the Burns Sesquibicentennial
Posted by: Keir Graff

The poetry beat ain’t always pretty. From the Guardian (“Two new Burns poems discovered,” by Alison Flood): His love might have been like a red red rose, but it turns out that Robert Burns may also have been suffering from a rather nasty STD, according to a collection of explicit writing apparently by Scotland’s national […]


Thu, December 4th, 2008
I’m Still Waiting for Someone to Invent Beef Jerky Incense
Posted by: Keir Graff

Though I try to keep an eye on the poetry beat, my efforts are woefully inadequate. Today I’ll do better. In Donna Seaman’s review of Kevin Coval’s Everyday People in the December 1 issue of Booklist, it caught my eye when Donna noted that the white, Jewish, suburban-raised hip-hop poet’s works contain “beef jerky and sandalwood incense.” And if […]


Wed, November 26th, 2008
An Awards First: Thanking in Advance?
Posted by: Keir Graff

In the Toronto Star (“Canada Council denies conflict of interest“), Vit Wagner reports on the controversy that erupted following the announcement of one of the poetry winners in the Governor General’s Literary Awards. Jacob Scheier, a Canadian expatriate living in Brooklyn, won for his debut collection, More to Keep Us Warm. And here’s the rub: In […]


Fri, November 7th, 2008
Quickly: Boiled Hippos, Crichton the Noodge, Obama the Poet, Six-Word Memoirs
Posted by: Keir Graff

In The Telegraph (“The young generation“), John Walsh offers the story behind the finally-published collaboration between Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. You can read my review, but I’m inclined to agree with Walsh that it’s more “a fascinating snapshot from a lost era” than a lost literary masterpiece. You […]





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